|County Seeks Court Order to Stay
Arbitration for Corrections Officer Fired for Misconduct
01/03/19 08:45am By: Nick Altmire
Supreme Court in Lewis County against CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME, AFL-CIO,
Lewis County Local 825, Sheriff's Employee Unit 7250-03 (CSEA), seeking an
order to permanently stay arbitration in the case of fired Corrections Officer
Claud Bodle, Jr.
Mr. Bodle was arrested and fired in May, accused of inappropriate contact with
a female inmate while performing his duties as a part-time Corrections Officer
at the Lewis County Jail. He pleaded GUILTY to a charge of Official
Misconduct on November 1 in the Village of Lowville Court, also satisfying the
charges of Forcible Touching and Sex Abuse.
According to court documents filed by the County on December 19, obtained by
linkinglewiscounty.com, CSEA filed a Demand for Arbitration on behalf of
Mr. Bodle on November 26, with the New York State Public Employment
Relations Board, seeking to obtain arbitration over the decision by the County
to terminate Mr. Bodle's employment, asserting that Mr. Bodle did not agree
with the charges of misconduct.
The County is asking the court to grant their application to dismiss the demand
for arbitration, noting that Mr. Bodle's guilty plea to the criminal charge
establishes misconduct while on duty, warranting his termination in accordance
with the Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) with the union.
The CBA also outlines the process for filing grievances, requiring the CSEA to
file any requests for arbitration within 30 days of receipt of the County's
decision (dated May 22). For this reason the County contends that the request
for arbitration is time barred under the terms and procedures set forth in the
Mr. Bodle did file a grievance form, dated June 7, stating "I have been charged
with misconduct. I do not agree with the charges as presented."
In the court documents, Lewis County Director of Human Resources
Christopher Boulio states that CSEA representatives did informally request,
during a phone conversation at the time of Mr. Bodle's termination, that the
County allow for more than the thirty day period to file a demand for arbitration.
Mr. Boulio states that it was his understanding that arbitration would not be
filed by CSEA in the event that Mr. Bodle was found guilty of any criminal
charge, "as management reserves the right to terminate an employee
immediately without the need for progressive discipline....for the commission of
a crime while on duty."
"CSEA's decision to file a demand for arbitration when there has been an
admission of Official Misconduct entered on the record by Mr. Bodle, is
contrary to the procedural mandates set forth in the CBA and reasonable logic,"
Mr. Boulio states in his deposition to the court, adding "In addition, any claim
that termination is disproportionate in this instance negates the actual legal
exposure to the County by Mr. Bodle's misconduct , and his basic disregard for
the public's rights, including inmates."
In the request for an order to permanently stay arbitration, the County contends
that anything less than termination would put the public at risk and the County
at risk for liability.
The County's request is set to be heard in Lewis County Supreme Court on
January 30, with the Honorable Charles C. Merrell presiding.
Lewis County officials declined to comment on the matter, citing the pending